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Covid tests for taxi drivers

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A photo of a taxi driver taking a lateral flow test

Hundreds of taxi drivers in Middlesbrough now have access to regular rapid Covid-19 tests.

Boro Cars has set up a test site in partnership with Middlesbrough Council and NHS Test and Trace.

The testing is carried out by the Boro Cars admin team who have all undergone NHS training.

All the necessary test kits, PPE and other equipment have been provided by the Council. Boro Cars provides its staff and facilities for free, recognising the benefit to the whole community.

The Boro Cars site adds to other community testing sites in the town for people without Covid symptoms. Around one in three people with the virus don't display symptoms, meaning the lateral flow tests can help find people who could potentially have been spreading the virus without knowing.

Boro Cars Director Christine Bell said the firm was believed to be the only taxi company in the region to be offering rapid tests to its staff.

She said: "Although this is a voluntary scheme it has been welcomed by drivers and we are encouraging all staff and drivers to be tested at least once weekly and ideally twice a week.

"Boro Cars will continue to do all we can to help protect the communities we serve. We are very pleased to have been asked by Middlesbrough Council to pilot this scheme in the Tees Valley and are very grateful to them for their support."

South Tees Joint Director of Public Health Mark Adams said: "I'm pleased Boro Cars is on board with the programme. Their staff don't have the option of working from home so this is another measure that can help keep people safe.

"As lockdown is gradually relaxed more people will use taxis and this testing can be part of a range of measures to help stop the spread.

"We have lots of options for people without symptoms to get tested around Middlesbrough and every test can help us drive down the infection rate further."

Earlier in the pandemic, with grants from the Council, taxi vehicle owners licensed with the council were able to fit partition screens in their vehicles.

The screens along with regular anti-bacterial cleaning of Boro Cars vehicles are designed to keep drivers and passengers safe.

Passengers must wear a face covering, unless they are exempt by law. Taxi drivers are not required to wear a face covering, but Boro Cars encourages all drivers to do so as a further measure to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

As of Thursday, Middlesbrough's infection rate was 130 per 100,000 of population.

Middlesbrough Council is continuing to offer free rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19. One in three people with the infection do not display symptoms and could potentially be spreading it without knowing.

The community testing programme is particularly aimed at those who can't work from home and therefore come into contact with more people.

Testing for those without symptoms is available at Middlesbrough Sports Village Wednesday - Sunday, North Ormesby Hub Monday - Friday and Newport Hub Tuesday - Saturday. Community tests can be booked via the community testing page

Anyone with any of the symptoms of Covid-19 should self-isolate immediately along with those they live with. The person with symptoms should book a test online or by calling 119.

The symptoms of Covid-19 are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss/change to the sense of smell or taste.

The following sites in Middlesbrough offer testing for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Cannon Park (Drive-through, 8am-8pm, seven days a week)
  • Teesside University Printworks car park, Woodlands Road (Walk-through, 8am-12pm, seven days a week)
  • Ormesby Road, Pallister Park (Walk-through, 8am-12pm, seven days a week)
  • Viewley Centre car park, Hemlington (Drive-through, Monday - Tuesday, 9am-3pm)
  • Cargo Fleet Lane (Drive-through currently Wednesday - Sunday, 9am-3pm).